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Bible Commentaries
2 Corinthians 3

Hampton's Commentary on Selected BooksHampton's Commentary

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Verses 1-6

Paul's Letter of Recommendation

It seems Paul was criticized for using personal examples in his first epistle. The apostle makes it clear that he needs neither boasting nor letters of commendation as the Lord's apostle. In fact, he said they were his letter. Their conversion was deeply etched in his heart and was on display in Corinth, a center of world trade. Christ was the author, Paul his secretary, the heart the place of record, and the Holy Spirit the means of leaving a lasting impression ( 2Co_3:1-3 ).

Assured by Christ, Paul confidently counted them as his letter of recommendation. Of course, the work he did in Corinth was through God's power. God made Paul a messenger, not of a legal age, but of a spiritual age. This new law gives life in place of condemnation ( 2Co_3:4-6 ).

Verses 7-12

The Greater Glory of the New Covenant

The law of Moses was written in stone and condemned men to die since they were not perfect. Yet, Moses, as a minister of that covenant, was glorified to the point that no one could look upon his face. Moses' law was directed to the outward man and condemned, yet brought glory. The law brought by the Spirit and directed to the inward man should bring more glory ( 2Co_3:7-8 ).

The Old Law could not free man from sin, while the New can. Since the Old brought glory, the New should outshine it as the sun outshines the moon. Even though the Old Law was made glorious, the New, in comparison made it as if it had no glory. Like the rising sun obscures the moon, the New Law obscures the Old. It remains while the other is obscured, thus displaying its greater glory ( 2Co_3:9-11 ).

Because we have hope of life and not of condemnation, Paul was not timid in speech. Knowing God was on his side, he spoke openly ( 2Co_3:12 ).

Verses 13-18

Seeing Christ's Glory with the Veil Removed

Just as Moses used a veil to cover the glory shining on his face ( Exo_34:33 ), so he used types and shadows to cover the glory of the Lord. Christians can now see Christ's glory with the veil of types and shadows taken away. In reading Moses' law, the veil of types and shadows still covered Christ for the Jews. Their hardened hearts refused to see Christ. However, they could see him in the New Testament ( 2Co_3:13-14 ).

Those rejecting Christ still fail to see him in the Old Testament. They overlook the purpose of that covenant ( Gal_3:24 ). However, those who sincerely strove to see God's will found the veil removed. Earlier (verses 6-7) Moses was used to stand for the letter. In the same way Christ stands for the Spirit. In Him is freedom ( 2Co_3:15-17 ).

One of the greatest freedoms enjoyed by those in the New Covenant is seeing Christ clearly. Christians see His glory reflected in the New Covenant and their faces are made to shine with His glory as Moses' face shone ( 2Co_3:18 ).

Bibliographical Information
Hampton, Gary. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 3". "Hampton's Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghc/2-corinthians-3.html. 2014.
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